HIGHLIGHTS IN HISTORY ON THIS DATE
1324 - Louis IV, emperor of Germany, is excommunicated by Pope John XXII.
1534 - Pope Clement VII declares valid the marriage of England's King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon.
1743 - George Frideric Handel's oratorio Messiah has its London premiere.
1801 - Russia's Tsar Paul I is assassinated by Russian aristocrats and succeeded by Alexander I.
1861 - Italy institutes its first government under Count Camillo di Cavour.
1887 - More than 80 miners die in gas explosion in colliery at Bulli, NSW.
1918 - The giant German gun, Big Bertha, shells Paris from 120km away.
1919 - Benito Mussolini founds fascist movement in Italy.
1925 - The American state of Tennessee bans teaching of evolution in schools; teacher John Scopes ignores the ban and is prosecuted later in what becomes known as the Monkey Trial.
1945 - US and British forces cross Rhine River in Germany during World War II.
1956 - Under its new constitution Pakistan becomes an Islamic Republic, with Major General Iskander Mirza as first provisional President.
1962 - French government uses fighter planes and tanks in attempt to end insurrection by European rightists in Algeria.
1965 - America's first two-person space flight begins as Gemini 3 blasts off from Cape Kennedy with astronauts Virgil Grissom and John Young aboard.
1970 - South Africa is banned from the Davis Cup tennis tournament because of its apartheid policies.
1981 - British great train robber Ronald Biggs is taken into custody in Barbados after his abduction from Brazil.
1983 - Dr Barney Clark dies in the US, 112 days after being the first person to receive an artificial heart.
1998 - The film Titanic wins 11 Oscars, equalling the record set by Ben-Hur in 1959.
2001 - The Mir space station returns to Earth in pieces, ending its 15-year, 3.5 billion km odyssey with a fiery plunge into the South Pacific.
2002 - Girls in Afghanistan celebrate their return to school for the first time in years after Taliban rule.
2010 - US President Barack Obama signs the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a health care overhaul that for the first time cements insurance coverage as the right of every US citizen.
2014 - Following a hung result in the March 15 South Australian election, independent MP Geoff Brock throws his support behind Labor, allowing Premier Jay Weatherill to form a minority government.
2015 - Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore who turned the city state into a wealthy nation, dies at the age of 91.
2016 - Belgium begins three days of mourning in the aftermath of the airport and subway bombings that killed 31 people and wounded more than 270.
2017 - A 63-year-old man is extradited from Melbourne to Sydney to be charged with abducting and murdering Wollongong toddler Cheryl Grimmer 47 years ago.
2018 - Six pilot whales are moved back to sea during a major rescue operation after a mass stranding at Hamelin Bay near Augusta in southwest WA left 140 dead.
Erich Fromm, German-born US psychoanalyst (1900-1980); Joan Crawford, US actress (1908-1977); Akira Kurosawa, Japanese film director (1910-1998); Wernher von Braun, German-born rocket expert (1912-1977); Roger Bannister, UK athlete first to run sub-four-minute mile (1929-2018); Chaka Khan, US singer (1953-); Amanda Plummer, British actress (1957-); Hope Davis, US actress (1964-); Damon Albarn, English musician, Blur (1968-); Michael Atherton, English cricketer (1968-); Keri Russell, US actress (1976-); Mo Farah, Somali-born British athlete (1983-); Princess Eugenie of York (1990-).
THOUGHT FOR TODAY
In human relations kindness and lies are worth a thousand truths. - Graham Greene (1904-1991).